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Stormy Weather!

Local first responders answer call quickly

September 23, 2018
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

Thursday around 5 p.m. lights began flickering and trees and poles bowed in the winds, which the Estherville Municipal Airport measured at speeds of up to 75 miles per hour, and Emmet County Emergency Management Director Travis Sheridan believes could be even higher.

Sheridan told the Estherville News Friday afternoon that all power was on again and city crews were working on patching and repairing poles. All roads are open and the common local areas are mostly cleared of debris.

"The crews have been working hard to clear debris and fix things in the common areas of Estherville," Sheridan said.

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Sheridan added, "Repairs to individual property is going to take some time."

Sheridan wanted to emphasize that property owners should self-report their damage at the following link:

The one-page self-report will help not only with the county assessing the damage, but also with receiving funding for individual assistance.

"The main thing is reporting the damage. We've lost out on individual assistance because of under-reporting the damage in our county," Sheridan said.

Sheridan said there will be some longer-term issues to work out. "If my neighbor's tree fell on my property, who's responsible?" Sheridan asked as an example of issues that have arisen as he drove around Emmet County to begin to assess the damage.

"The state will provide individual assistance to people of low income if the damage has affected their housing," Sheridan said.

According to Sheridan and the National Weather Service, the storm was in the western part of the county, from just east of Estherville to just over the county line shared with Dickinson County. Gruver, Dolliver, Armstrong and Ringsted all experienced little damage.

"When a storm like this happens, the conditions are so dangerous. Please allow the city and first responders and utilities to clean out and fix damage around the area," Sheridan said.

Sheridan said county communications were down for about 10 minutes.

"[Sheriff] Mike Martens was key to handling phones and coordinating dispatch while the lines were down," Sheridan said.

On the whole, Sheridan said response to the storm was the way it needed to be. "It's amazing how the community has come together in the aftermath," Sheridan said.

Damage around the community is extensive. The roof blew off Imperial Bowling Lanes on 17th Street with damage estimated at approximately $50,000.

The winds knocked down numerous trees, uprooting some located in very wet soil from the continual heavy rains throughout August and parts of September.

The office building of the Green Plains ethanol plant in Superior was damaged by an EF-1 tornado, according to the National Weather Service. The tornado touched down briefly and had peak winds estimated at 99 mph.



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